Issue #8: EchoWords soft launch 🤩

The landing page and waitlist, the ads, and discovering the world of email warmup

We’re getting nearer and nearer to the launch! 🤩 

Yeah, I’m trying to hype you to get your support once it happens. 🤣 

This was another very interesting week and fully focussed on EchoWords. I also just realized that Beehiiv has a way to add the table of contents easily, so here it is! 🚀 

Table of Contents

Newsletter rebranding

Okay, I just changed the name, you caught me. 😂 

You might have noticed that I renamed this newsletter from “Marvin’s Newsletter“ which sounds quite anonymous to “Notes on Solopreneurship Engineering“. Since I’m documenting my journey I like to think about it as taking an IRL course on a hypothetical “Solopreneurship Engineering“ degree. Considering my background in Software Engineering it feels like a perfect fit.

Who are the professors you might ask? 🤔 

My supporting network, potential customers, other solopreneurs documenting their journeys (there’s a big community on X/Twitter), and the market. If you mess up things the market won’t have any issue throwing you a cake on the face. 🤡 

Fran Healy Reaction GIF by Travis

Gif by travisband on Giphy

The landing page

Even this time I easily built it with Framer. I started to get used to it. It took me around 3 hours and a half to have it live with the waitlist setup as well.

Landing page of EchoWords

The structure is quite simple and I re-use the same structure that I used when I revamped the landing for NextCommit. You can check out the approach of the structure which I described here.

In the meantime, this is what you see if you try to go to app.useechowords.com:

So you might be wondering why I put a live landing page if the MLP (Minimum Lovable Product) is not live yet. 🤔 

I discussed this in last week's issue here, but long story short, the MLP is taking more than 2 weeks which is more than expected, so worth it in the meantime to start “warming up” the distribution. 🍳 

Let’s see how.

Using a waitlist with a survey as CTA

The CTA in the landing is “Join the waitlist“ and if you click you get redirected here:

Survey landing

I’m offering a 50% discount to whoever completes the submission, and those who will be eligible will be free beta users.

A few topics here to discuss:

  1. I didn’t mention the 50% discount on the landing to make sure that who clicks on the CTA is really interested rather than being captured by the idea of having a discount on the product,

  2. As you remember from the last week here, I started to think about the pricing, but I didn’t stress it too much yet. This means that the 50% discount will be applied to whatever will be the final pricing,

  3. The first launch will support only Beehiiv and X/Twitter as the source and repurposing target respectively. This means that some of the interested potential customers might not be immediately able to use the platform to its full potential.

  4. Eligible beta testers would be indeed those that match the initial ICP.

The current ICP is very limited and has the following characteristics:

  • a Beehiiv publisher,

  • repurposes content on X/Twitter,

  • works mostly solo.

The first two points are obvious, the last one is because I didn’t implement the concept of teams or in general users having access to the same account.

As I mentioned this is only the initial target, the more I expand the product, the more the TAM increases.

But we need a starting point, right? 😂 

The questions in the survey

Questions in the survey

As you see, there are only a few questions. The main goal is to have a better understanding of the potential customers, how they’re currently solving the repurposing problem and for which platforms, and how painful is this problem by asking how much time they’re spending.

The last question is for the next weeks to have a retrospective on which acquisition channel worked best and on the customer acquisition cost.

Next week I’ll share more about the data collected. ✨ 

But having a landing with a survey doesn’t work if nobody lands there, right? 😅 

Driving traffic through ads

Paid ads are the fastest and easiest way to drive traffic short term. If you know a different approach, PLEASE DO TELL ME! 😂 

This is what I set:

  • LinkedIn Ads

  • Google Ads

  • Reddit Ads

Let’s check them one by one.

LinkedIn

Easy-peasy. I just needed to go through the wizard and set up the campaign, and in a few minutes, it was live-up and running. 😌 

The cool thing about LinkedIn is that you can target by job title. I targeted job titles like “Content Marketer“, “Newsletter Writer“, etc., it’s also nice that LinkedIn suggests others the more you fill.

I put a budget of 10 EUR/day for 2 weeks to experiment.

So far so good:

  • 872 impressions,

  • 27 clicks,

  • 3.1% CTR.

However, it’s damn costly, 24 EUR CPM. 😅 

Also considering that not all those 27 clicks lead to a survey being answered. So far I got only 6.

This is what the ad creative looks like:

LinkedIn Ad creative

Google

Here we are again…

I experimented already with Google Ads for NextCommit. I don’t remember if I mentioned this in the past issues, but at some point, I got issues with Google Ads suspending the account for reasons that I did not understand like some sort of policy violation or security issues in the landing. It seems like the automatic check is very strict, and the last time without any change I was able to re-enable the account after submitting an appeal.

Guess what? It happened again! 😭 

This time was something related to the payment method or something. It’s just frustrating.

After an appeal and around 24 hours, I was able to have the ad up and running.

For each project, I have a different Google Workspace account, and a different Google Ads account, so that I can have each project fully decoupled from each other. I try to do this for every single service that I use. I guess that Google is stricter with new accounts, and probably the automatic check didn’t like the fact that I’m an “Organization” based in Italy, but still registered as a “Freelancer” (I haven’t incorporated any company yet), and paying with a card that has a Lithuanian IBAN (Revolut). 😅 

Anyway, the pain ended, and this is what the creative looks like:

Google Ad creative

It’s still early to talk about stats here, given that it has been unblocked just today.

Reddit

The cool thing about advertising on Reddit is that you can target specific communities! 🚀 

Reddit Ad targeting

The bad thing is that my ad has not been approved, and there’s no reason associated with it. 😅 

I’ll try to reach out to understand why is that.

Reddit Ad not approved

Conversion rate

I’m going to ignore Google Ads for now as it started just today. Considering only LinkedIn, I have:

  • 3.1% CTR, which is good.

  • 22% conversion from landing to survey taken, which is also good.

How do I know these are good?

When I worked in the video advertising industry I learned that 2% CTR is the standard de facto that defines whether an ad is performing well or not. WRT to the conversion from landing to survey, I asked ChatGPT.

ChatGPT’s answer on a survey conversion rate

Using other channels

Paid Ads are not the only acquisition channel I’m leveraging. I started with recording a video on Loom and used it to ask for feedback. 🎥 

I reached out to people in my network, especially to people around the marketing and content creation space.

Reaching out to my network

Reaching out to my network

Thanks Paul for all the insights! Not only related to EchoWords.

And BTW if you’re looking for an automated remediation platform for AppSec vulnerabilities that focuses on what truly matters, go and check out Konvu! 😁 

I also soft-launched it both on X/Twitter and LinkedIn by first announcing that I was working on something new, then by showing a demo after a few days and then announcing the landing page.

If you wanna check them:

The 3 LinkedIn posts have in total of 1.4k impressions, while X/Twitter is around 1.3k.

On LinkedIn, I also tried posting on “The Content Writer Connection“, but I think it has been rejected by the admin. It’s a pity because it’s a big group, but the diversity of that group would have been really valuable.

“The Content Writer Connection“ LinkedIn group

On X/Twitter I posted also on the Beehiiv community which counts 341 members. This is probably the most targeted post that I made.

Beehiiv community on X/Twitter

Unfortunately, my reach on social media is not that big yet, that would help a lot. 😅 

I also create an X/Twitter account and a LinkedIn page.

EchoWords X/Twitter profile

I also posted on Reddit. Even in this case, there’s a Beehiiv subreddit where I posted, and I also hooked in other subs and mentioned EchoWords by commenting. Reddit could be great due to the nature of communities, but mods could be very strict with self-promotion and ban you, so need to play carefully. 😅 

Reddit post

Leads and opportunities

First of all, I needed to learn the difference between a lead and an opportunity. 😂 

I’m pretty sure they told me during the leadership meetings back in Athenian, and I just forgot. 😅 

A lead is any potential marketable individual or business, while an opportunity is a lead that has the potential to complete a purchase. For example, everyone who submits the survey is a lead, but as of today, only those who use Beehiiv and X/Twitter for repurposing are real opportunities.

At this point, I have leads both from X/Twitter from DM and some comments, from LinkedIn DM, and also from the survey. I’ll definitely soon start putting everything into a spreadsheet. 😅 

I know that CRMs exist, but I don’t wanna overkill it now.

The world of cold emails

This week I discovered a whole new world.

Fx Networks Mind Blown GIF by Cake FX

Gif by cakefx on Giphy

It’s not about cold email, I knew already about it, but I didn’t know about one thing called “mailbox/domain warm up“.

My real reaction was this:

My reaction when I heard about email warmup

If you know about this, you can definitely skip this.

It turned out that ESPs (Email Service Providers), like Google for Gmail or Microsoft for Hotmail, assign a reputation to domains and associated mailboxes to avoid spam. An ESP can then decide to not deliver your email depending on different factors like the content, the recipients, the domain reputation, etc., or to mark it as spam.

I never really thought about it, but it surely makes sense, especially from a user perspective.

How can a business send cold emails then? 🤔 

In theory, a new domain with a new mailbox receives a neutral reputation. Your reputation increases according to what a recipient of your emails does: open the mail, mark the email as important, answer back, etc. Basically, the more your emails are seen by the ESP as authentic or valuable to the recipients by checking these actions, the higher will be your reputation.

If you start sending a lot of cold emails from day 0, you risk your domain to be blacklisted. After that, good luck recovering from that situation. 😅 

There are paid services (just google them) that offer to “warmup” your domain for you to be able to start sending high-volume emails short-term.

Too easy you might think? 😂 

The caveat is that ESPs TOS does not allow the usage of mechanisms that manipulate the reputation. If you get caught, well, it’s probably the same as being blacklisted.

For this reason, the general suggestion that I learned is to never ever use your main domain for sending cold emails, and use that only for marketing campaigns or transactional emails the recipients opted in for.

What’s the right way of doing it then?

TBH I’m still learning about this stuff as well. 🤣 I also spotted an interesting service, called EmailChaser, that helps to send cold emails but by explicitly saying that they avoid automatic email warmup. Their approach is to send an increasing amount of cold emails by tracking stats like open rate, etc., to make sure that a domain it’s not a risk of being blacklisted or being marked as spam. The way they scale is by letting the user add extra domains.

I’ll continue studying this in the next day.

I also posted about it:

About being patient

Building is fun, and launching is exciting! But the other side of the coin is that it can also cause some anxiety because it’s the moment of the truth. 😰

When I launched the campaigns yesterday I started seeing the impressions ramping up, and my brain couldn’t help asking:

  • “Why so few clicks?“

  • “Why not yet any survey submission?“

  • “What did I do wrong this time?“

And only a few hours passed for a 10 EUR/day campaign. 😅 

In general, you start wondering whether, in Italy we say, “a hole in the water“ which I just googled can be translated to “a swing and a miss“. 😅 

I think the problem is that coming from a Software Engineering background I’m so used to changing something, and immediately seeing the result, just here and there. You change an icon, and here it is. You change the data in a database, and here it is.

When it comes to distribution, it’s a longer-term game. Or at least not an immediate one. As I shared above, the numbers so far are looking good, so at least for now, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

I just need to keep that into account. 💪 

And in the end, whatever the outcome, I’m learning tons of new stuff on this journey. So, even if I’d need to build something else, lessons learned. 😂 

What’s left for the launch?

I still need to finish the scheduling part. I’ve just added the ability to schedule an X thread, and also the calendar view to see all the scheduled threads.

UI to schedule a thread

UI to view the scheduled threads

After that, I’d need to implement that actual bot that would post on X.

I started wondering whether I could start opening the platform to the beta users by offering only the topics extraction and the X thread generation in the meantime, but need to think about it.

Conclusion

This one was packed, but it was also probably one of the most interesting ones. ✨ 

For the upcoming week, I’ll continue gathering leads and start tracking them, and also continue building the scheduling feature. 🚀 

I hope enjoyed this week’s updates! 👋 

If you’re interested in following my journey, make sure to subscribe or follow me on X/Twitter and LinkedIn!

Appendix

Given that I’m not focusing on NextCommi right now, starting today I’ll just put the stats related to my personal branding in the “Appendix” and just talk about specific stats as part of the main content when due.

Personal branding

X

X Premium analytics

Beehiiv newsletter

Beehiiv Analytics

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